Support for Lockdowns: A ‘Bootleggers and Baptists’ Phenomenon

by David McGrogan
The American Institute for Economic Research

One of the most striking characteristics of ‘lockdownism’ – though one which, seen in the cold light of day, is hardly surprising – is that support for it has been generated through confluences of interests. The most obvious example of this is the way in which the aims of public health bodies (preventing excess deaths) have aligned so closely with those of certain big, incumbent market actors, such as supermarkets, social media giants, and online marketplaces (that is, profit). Lockdowns appear to suit those with self-consciously virtuous motives; they also very often suit those who want to make money. When people stay at home, they stop the virus spreading – but they also spend more time online, buy more from online stores, and rely on big ‘essential’ supermarkets rather than small, independent ‘mom and pop’ nonessential retail.

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